It sometimes feels like I spend most of my life on the internet. I’m either blogging, losing hours on social media or reading posts on a wide variety of topics. So much reading. I think that I read more than I write at the moment. Whether it be other blog posts, articles, advice, the internet is full of it.
There is so much out there. Sometimes it can be insightful, thought-provoking, interesting, helpful. It can offer you reassurance and support. It can make you feel like you are not alone or going crazy. But all too often it can make you feel guilty.
That is the bit I am fed up with, reading articles and posts that make me feel guilty. It seems to happen a lot lately.
Parenting can be as challenging as it is amazing. But when you are handed your child, (unfortunately) they don’t come with their own handbook. Each phase brings its own challenges and the teen years are a whole new level of parenting. I am certainly rediscovering that at the moment. Parenting is a roller-coaster ride with so many twists and turns, I can barely keep up and when you go through a phase with more downs than ups, it is natural to turn to the internet for advice.
Recently, I have read lots of posts about managing a teenager with anxiety, about how to help give your teens more independence and about how to best support them through exams and more. Some posts offer great advice, others make me feel like I am doing everything wrong. It could almost be as though the writer is sat there shaking their heads at me in despair as they write.
One example was a post about managing an anxious teen who is struggling in school. Pretty much everything that the article advised you not to do, I do.
Having taken to the internet in search of reassurance, I was left feeling like the world’s worst mother. Ever.
As I lay awake thinking about it, I gave myself a hypothetical shake. I was being ridiculous. I have four healthy, happy (some of the time) children. One of them has anxiety but it isn’t my fault. We do a lot to help and support him as we do with the others and yes, we don’t always get it right. But like our kids, we learn through our mistakes and let’s face it, none of us are perfect, are we?
I shouldn’t feel guilty.
In the cold light of day, you have to take a step back and consider that every child is different and as parents, we are all different too. What works for some will work for others but just because it doesn’t, it doesn’t mean that you are in some way a failure. Articles and advice online is not a set of hard and fast rules, you should take advice from it, but not take it completely to heart and feel judged by it.
And definitely not make yourself feel guilty all of the time.